A Voice from Bosnia-Herzegovina


Photo by Giles Clarke

Photo by Giles Clarke

Dear people,

I saw a man sitting at a metro station last week. Gracia neighbourhood, Barcelona. He was reading a brick of a hardcover, entitled ‘1914-1918’. It’s a hot topic this year. World War 1, the massacre that ended the Age of Empires and inaugurated the 20th century.
The prologue of the conflict began in Sarajevo, with the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, at the hands of a Serbian nationalist. At the time, the region was at the centre of a power struggle between German-backed Austria and Russian-backed Serbia, and, by extension, between the two grand alliances that included almost every great power of the day. Hence, the local conflict went global.

After one hundred years and three devastating wars, the country and its peoples are still divided and subject to powerplay from abroad. Earlier this month, protests erupted in Tuzla, against corruption, plunder, unemployment and a failed political system. What follows is an overview of the current problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina from an anonymous activist on the ground. For more info about the ongoing protests, check out this article in Roar Mag.

“Political dysfunction started with the Dayton Peace Agreement, which disfigured the country and left it decentralized, in service to the ideas which started the war in the first place. Aggression toward the territory. The Dayton agreement left Bosnia-Herzegovina as the only ex Yugoslav state that had or did not have war without it’s head, and dependent on the ideas that come from the outside supporting nations such as are Croatia, Serbia and Turkey.

Soon after the protests started our local official government had meetings with prime ministers of these above mentioned countries. General idea is that we are a protectorate and a colony for political ideas, economical and religious interests that come from each of these countries. Sarajevo, as a capital city lost its role and two out of three main nations (Serbs, Croats) look at Zagreb or Belgrade as their capital cities though they are in different separate and independent states.

As the country got destabilized and decentralized so did the justice system and with nobody to look after the state’s general interests in post war years, along with the theft of the foreign donations and the mobster privatization played by the ruling parties, the whole core of the state is collapsing, schooling system, medical care system … So that generally, Dayton is looked at as a plunder agreement and not as a peace one.

Photo by Giles Clarke

Photo by Giles Clarke

Once a well organized state became a state of small enclaves of isolated religious and ethnic zealots with corrupted provincial mentality. But, there is a saying in ex Yugoslavia, if Bosnia arises the whole Balkans will. Yugoslavia was actually formed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and it was called a ‘little Europe’ back in the day.

Refreshed with a new generation we began the new struggle against socioeconomic dehumanization and humiliation of the common folk for the interest of international religious based mob cartels that want us kept in isolation and hatred while we’re being robbed.

And as soon as the protests stopped people organized in plenums all over the county, seeking honest conversation leading to solutions to the major problems left unsolved, such as, war crimes, post war privatization, social security, cuts for the political parties, nepotism, devastated factories, nontransparent public deals… and in the town of Mostar, which is still kept separated like Berlin was but without the wall, where protesters also burned down the two main party’s headquarters, the message has been sent that these politics of segregation aren’t in our minds and souls as Europeans..”

In the abovementioned article in Roar, the plenum is described by Mate Kapović as being a general assembly, “very similar to the original Russian soviets. The protesters are using them in order to reach collective decisions and demands in a direct democratic manner. What is interesting is that the idea of the plenum, as a political body for democratic decision-making, originated in the 2009 wave of student occupations in Croatia, while the Croatian student movement itself got the idea from the 2006 Belgrade student movement. This, in other words, is a fine example of post-Yugoslav left activist cooperation and mutual inspiration.”


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